The Nahanni Trips

               The Nahanni Trips
The highlight of the year for the Nahanni Camping and Fishing Club is always the mid- summer trip. Often we travel the western part of the US, although a few trips have been right here in good old New England. These trips started out modestly and have now become a fixture for us. The great stories from of these journeys are endless. To date these trips have included –
1994Maine, Baxter State Park, nice but small lean-tos, Climbing Katadin on the Abol Trail, David W. Mike B. John W.
1995Maine, Baxter SP, Nesowadnehunk Field, Double Top Mountain, hot weather and a flying tent, great horseshoe game, David W. John W. Mike B. Rob W.
1996Maine Baxter SP, Newsowdnehunk Field, climbing Katadhin on the Hunt Trail, David W. John W. Mike B. Dave W.
1997Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park, Fern Lake, Big Thompson River, Pearl Lake, Steamboat Lake, North Park, Cache Lapoudre River. David W. John W.
1998Colorado, Cache LaPoudre River, Lake Agnes, David W. John W. Mike B.
1999Colorado, White River National Forest. Trappers Lake, Meeker Colorado, David W. John W. Mike B.
2000Colorado, Aspen, Roaring Fork River, Frying Pan River, David W. John W. Mike B. Dave W.
2001Maine – Baxter State Park, group climb of Katadin, Nesowadnehunk
Stream, drunk white tail deer, David W. John W. Mike B, Chris W. Mike W. Jim C.
2002Idaho, Sawtooth Mountains, Salmon River, Yankee Fork, Stanley, Big Wood River, Ketchem, David W. John W. Mike B. Chris W. Mike W. Jim C. and Sparky
2003Colorado, Aspen, Roaring Fork River, Frying Pan River, David W. John W. Mike B. Dave W.
2004Maine – West Branch, Penobscott River, Big Eddie’s campground, Ripogenus George, David W. John W. Dave W. Chris W. Mike B. George F. and something large that knocked over a tree in the middle of the night.
2005California, Trinity River, Redwood Forest, Pacific Ocean, David W. John W. Mike B. Chris W. WFH Weather.
2006Colorado, South Platte River, Eleven Mile Canyon, Wild Bill, Gunnison, Taylor River, Spring Creek Reservoir. David W. John W. Mike B. Chris W. Dave W. (the trout here like to eat strike indicators!)
2007Montana & Idaho, Bozeman, Galletin River, Yankee Creek, Yellowstone National Park, Old Faithful, Rock Creek. David W. John W. Chris W.
2008Montana & Idaho, Missoula, Rock Creek, Lolo Pass, Locksa River, Lewis and Clark Highway. David W. John W. Chris W. and a flat tire.
2009Idaho, Locksa River, Lowell Idaho, Selway River, Selway Falls. David W. John W. Dave W. Chris W.
2010 – Colorado, return to Eleven Mile Canyon, South Platte River, David W. John W. George “Altitude” Fountain
2011 – A close to home M.N.T. (Mini Nahanni Trip) to the Millers River and the Swift River in Massachusetts, David W. John W. and Chris W.
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Nahanni Music

 Turn that music up louder !

The Nahanni trips have always been accompanied by great music. There are many wonderful songs and albums that are definitely associated with our Nahanni Camping and Fishing trips.

During the early Nahanni trips to the rocky mountains the number one favorite was the Eagles Desperado album. Desperado was the Eagles 1973 theme album based on outlaws of the wild west. What better music to hear while traveling through the heart of the Rockies! The album is said to draw comparisons between western outlaw’s lifestyle and the lifestyles of modern rock stars. This album introduced the group’s penchant for conceptual songwriting. It was during the recording sessions that Don Henley and Glenn Frey began writing with each other, co-writing 8 of the album’s 11 songs, including two of the group’s most popular songs: “Tequila Sunrise” and “Desperado“. Throughout the album, the story of the notorious Wild West Dalton gang was the main focus, featured in the songs “Doolin-Dalton,” “Bittercreek” and “Desperado”.

Another Nahanni classic from the southern rock music genre is music by the Outlaws. Originally formed in 1967 the band still performs today, lead by Henry Paul, one of their early band members. The Outlaws’ earliest well known songs were “There Goes Another Love Song” and “Green Grass and High Tides”, both from their 1975 self-titled debut album. Their 1980 cover of “Ghost Riders in the Sky”from the album Ghost Riders was their biggest single chart success, reaching #31 on the Billboard “Pop Singles” chart. And yes, since the horses still snort fire and their hooves are really made of steel, Ghost Riders is the definitely the very best song to listen to on your way to go fishing!

After a long day of fishing,followed by a great campfire dinner, nothing fits better then some great Pink Floyd music. This famous English band produced albums from 1967 to 1994. The most famous of these are “Dark Side of the Moon” (1973), “Animals: (1977) and “The Wall” (1979). During their years of touring this progressive rock band became pioneers in the use of laser and light shows as well as large video presentations. Their concerts also had large balloon puppets including ones shaped like a pig, which became a symbol of Pink Floyd after being used on the cover of the “Animals’ album. Another symbol was a prism with a light shining through it. This was used on the cover of “Dark Side of the Moon”, one of their most popular albums.

More Music stuff to come soon!

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Ice Fishing

 Ice Fishing

In some circles ice fishing is a true passion and almost a way of life! But for most ice fishermen I expect it is simply something to do until the regular fishing season comes about. It can certainly be enjoyable and gives you a great reason to get out of the house on a winter’s day.

In New England the preferred method is the simple tip-up ice fishing with a shiner as bait. Jigging rods and other methods are seldom seen. One of the interesting things about ice fishing is that it seems like mostly good sized fish are active and biting. I cannot remember ever seeing a “small” fish come through the ice. Often exceptionally large fish are caught. Ice fishing also is somewhat social as those hardy souls tend to bond out on the ice and are part of an eclectic sub-culture.

Ice Fishing Safety

The very first thing to keep in mind about ice fishing is always – SAFETY first – make sure the ice is SAFE! If you do fall into ice cold water it will definably cut into your fishing time and you don’t want that! Ice fishing safety is vital!

As with other types of fishing or camping you should make sure your gear is ready to go before you head out. Getting your equipment ready can be an enjoyable way to spend an early winter evening. Go over all your tip-ups and terminal tackle and make sure they are sound. It is a good idea to replace hooks, line, sinkers and leaders for the coming season. All states will have an allowable number of traps you can use and of course this number should never be exceeded. It is a good idea to carry along a extra tip-up or two in case one has a problem. Also make sure you already have you fishing license for the year as in some areas the fish and game wardens know to check for violators at ice fishing lakes. In our area the wardens have been seen as soon as January second!

Your power auger or ice chipper should be in good working order. The gasoline you use for your power auger shouldn’t be old, leftover gas from last year. Use fresh gas and also fuel stabilizer may be helpful. Your ice fishing sled should be equipped with extra hooks and sinkers, a sounding line and an ice scooper. Bringing a small towel will allow you to dry your hands if necessary. You want to keep as dry as possible in sub freezing temperatures. A thick, strong safety rope should be on board and hopefully never used. You may want to include a few non-fishing items such as a football, hockey sticks, Frisbee, binoculars, camera, etc. These may add to your fun, especially if you have kids along.

Flag up goes the yell! Now…….to run or not to run, that is the question!!! Often you will see ice fisherman sprint (and sometimes fall down) as they run to the tip-up flag that has flipped up. Usually of course it is the flag furthest away from you current location that goes up! Yet other times your will see some fishermen take their time in getting to the flag up trap. This may have something to do with experience and perhaps age. In either case you then need to assess the situation as to when to set the hook. While one person is attempting to land the fish another can be winding line back onto the spool so it doesn’t get frozen or tangled. A pair of needle nose pliers should always be carried, especially in pike and pickerel lakes, so that catch and release can be quick and efficient. Another good ice fishing tip is do not let your ice scoop fall down a hole! That sucks!

Upon returning home make sure you keep you fishing gear is put away somewhere it will not freeze. A basement or heated garage is ideal. You want your equipment to thaw out and dry so it is ready for next time!

More details about ice safety can be found on our ice safety page.

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Let’s Go Fly Fishing!

 Lets Go Fly Fishing!

     The Nahanni Camping and Fishing Club fully supports the Trout Unlimited organization and it’s programs to research and promote the conservation and the survival of wild fish (especially trout and salmon) and their efforts lobbying for legislation that will allow for future fishing opportunities. The philosophy of Catch and Release is considered a vital part of conservation and a responsible way to interact with the environment.

Equipment

The sport of fly fishing is now more popular then ever and has taken on more forms in the last few years. Traditionally fly fishing was for the pursuit of trout and salmon. Now saltwater fishing, bass fishing and even fly casting for carp have many devoted followers. Fly fishing can be challenging, relaxing, rewarding, exciting and frustrating all at the same time. It is an activity that requires patience, observation, persistence and attention to detail. To begin the process a fly fisherman needs proper equipment.

Fly boxes – Flies can be a big investment of money and time and you want to be able to get them easily when on the river. Fly boxes come in many styles and most experienced fly fishermen end up with fat too many boxes. There are some thing to consider. You don’t want your fly collection to get wet if you wade too deeply or drop a box in the river. You also don’t want your dry flies to blow away in the wind. This is one of the main reasons old-fashioned compartmentalized fly boxes have fallen out of favor. Foam boxes keep your flies in place but hooks can destroy the foam over time. Slitted foam boxes keep the flies in place, organized in neat rows. Fly boxes are generally designed to hold certain type of flies. A box that fits your small nymphs might not be correct for holding large streamer flies. You do not want flies to get squished while in the box. Boxes with transparent or translucent exteriors allow you to see the flies inside before your open it.

Fishing jackets. Don’t underestimate the importance of a good wading jacket made specifically for fly fishing. Frequently the best fly fishing is in the spring and fall when it is cool and wind, rain, and even snow can accompany your fishing. If you have no jacket, or don’t have the right jacket, weather can force you off the stream and cause you to miss some of good fishing. Remember – anything that “cuts into your fishing time” is against the Nahanni Camping and fishing Club rules! If it is cold and raining hard your fishing jacket may be your most important piece of fishing equipment. If you are too cold and wet to continue fishing, your rod brand becomes irrelevant!

Equipment – The basics start with a rod, reel, fly line, leader and flies. In addition a fly vest, waders, landing net and wading staff are extremely useful. The first and most import aspect of fly fishing equipment is to have a balanced rod, real and line combination. A fly rod is always rated for a specific size line, ranging from size 1 to 15. The mid range of 4 to 8 are most common. A size 5 or 6 is a good choice for most freshwater fishing.

Rod – The standard fly rod material is graphite. The quality of graphite rods has improved over the years and they are now made to be light, strong and cast very effectively. Traditional bamboo rods are also very effective although a quality bamboo rod can be relatively pricey. Rod building has become a side hobby related to fly fishing. Some consideration should be given to the number of pieces the rod breaks down to. For hiking trips to back county ponds and streams you may want a rod that is made up of 4 or more pieces to make it easy to carry. A good rod tube will be very useful whenever you are traveling with your fly rod.

Fly Line – The line should be selected so the size/weight matches the size rod. The weight of the line head to load (bend) the rod during the casting motion. Fly lines can be floating, sinking or sinking tip. Most fly fishing situations call for a floating line. They can also have different tapers such as a double taper, tapered at both ends so that the line can be reversed when one end is worn, or a weight forward taper designed for better distance. Buying as quality line will pay dividends when you are out fishing.

Cleaning your line – Line tend to get coating with dirt and debris with use. Most fly shops will carry a line cleaning solution. A moist soft clothe will also do a good job a cleaning your line. A clean line will make a big difference in your casting.

Reels – The reel on your fly rod is more then just a device to store your line. It should be the proper size to balance the outfit and be able to hold the fly line and a reasonable amount of backing line. It should have a smooth reeling in motion and a an effective drag to deal with a large fish on the line.

Waders – Since you may be out on a trout stream for several hours you will want your waders to be comfortable and effective. Proper wading will get you in position to cast to feeding tour and should always be done safely. Some fisherman use simple hip waders but most are waist or chest high. Traditionally waders had simple rubber boot bottoms. These are useful in some applications but that are not as comfortable or as safe as foot fitting wading boots over stocking foot waders. Felt bottoms provide excellent foot traction when stepping on slippery rocks and moss in the stream. Some felt bottom wading boots also have small metal spikes to add traction. The problem with felt wader (all waders actually) is the potential to transport invasive nuisance species such as New Zealand mud snails and didymo algae. Waders should be clean thoroughly between fishing trips. A mild bleach solution will work.

A wading staff is also very useful and highly recommended. Wading staffs can be tethered to your waist, carried collapsed in a pouch and are shocked corded and fit together quickly. A staff makes wading much easier and safer and you staff will also be handy on land as you bushwhack along the side of a stream.

Vests – having vest to carry all your fishing supplies, along with sunblock, water, cell phone, poncho, snacks, etc, will be so convenient that you won’t want to do without. Varies pockets, both inside and out, will soon be filled up with all your gear. It makes sense to get a mesh vest to help keep you cool in warm weather.

Flies – The variety of available flies in literally endless. Dry flies, wet flies and nymphs, streamers and bass bugs are just some of the basic categories. It makes sense to always be equipped with standard patterns as they are tried and proven to work. It also makes sense to have more the one of each pattern as you don’t want to be frustrated by losing a fly once it is determined that that is the fly that the fish are hitting.

Once you have your fly gear ready you are ready to head for your fishing destination. Over time most fishermen tend to acquire more and more equipment. Various rods, reels and lines for various fishing applications and many flies and fly boxes to entice your prey.

 

We hope you have enjoyed these fly fishing tips from the Nahanni Camping and Fishing Club. Now you are ready to go fishing! Good luck!

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Let’s Go Camping!

  Lets Go Camping !

     There is a reason why “the great outdoors” is described that way. Man’s natural and primitive needs are fulfilled by spending quality time outside. Camping offers us the opportunity to revel in the original form of the world, enjoy both solitude and great companionship and develop a sense of survival and accomplishment. You can hike a mountain ridge with a hundred mile view in all directions, watch a brilliant sunset on the lake or enjoy the view of a rainbow from the rain shelter of a tall pine. Weather your idea of camping is backpacking in true wilderness, car camping to the local state park or traveling the country in a thirty foot RV, the feelings can be equally wonderful. As with most aspects of life, proper preparation will prove to be immensely helpful. Remember the boy scout motto – Always Be Prepared!

Where to go camping? One of the great things about planning a camping trip is the vast number of places you can choose from. Throughout the US and Canada there are many National Parks, National Forests, State Parks, Wilderness Areas and private campgrounds that will offer the type of experience you are looking for.

National Forests – One our favorite places for hassle free camping are National Forests (www.fs.fed.us) These can be easily researched on the web, as can just about any camping area. One of the great things about National Forest Campgrounds is that they offer a wide variety of beautiful natural settings. Some National Forests can be surprisingly empty even in the middle of the summer. They are also generally inexpensive and many offer “dispersed camping”. These are remote areas where you can camp (often for free) in an unestablished campground. This is ideal for those looking for some peace and quiet. Accommodations will be very minimal but you may find that you have located a truly great place to camp. Be sure to check with the National Forest you are going to visit if you plan to camp this way to get full details.

Both National Forests and National Parks are generally located in some of the most spectacular and scenic areas. Parks such as Yellowstone, Yosemite and Rocky Mountain National Park are wonderful places to visit but they do offer slightly different experiences then National Forests.

National Parks are established primarily for the benefit of visitors to enjoy. 275 million Americans per year visit these parks so you will not be alone unless you make a point to get off the beaten path. (www.NPS.gov) will provide helpful information on National Parks. National Parks and the National Park Service are set up and maintained by the Department of the Interior while National Forests are run by the Department of Agriculture and the campgrounds and other recreational services are a non-profit component of this department.

To really learn about the great history of National Parks you may want to watch Ken Burn’s series The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. This six part documentary series was filmed over six years in such locations as Arcadia, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and the Everglades. Along with being a story of these great places it is also a story of the many people involved in this “Great Idea”. Strongly recommended.

It is a great idea to conduct a lot of research to fully understand the area you are going to visit. Print out the important information you find and bring it with you as later this can be very useful. With the help of the Google Earth program you can actually see the place you will be camping.

Another idea that can provide some very useful information is to call the ranger station for the camping area you are planning to visit. If you are planning to enjoy some fishing on your camping trip it is also strongly recommended that you call the local area fishing shops before you go. They will have much more fishing information then the campground employees. The folks working in the local fly/fishing shop are invaluable and will often share vital information with you. Details about water level, best ares to fish and what flies or bait to use will be offered. You can repay the favor by visiting the store when you are in their area. Even though calling the campground, Forest or Park office is very useful for camping information, the people working there generally know absolutely nothing about fishing! Very surprising – but true! This odd fact was recently emphasized in northern Maine. While checking into a campground located directly on the West Branch of the Penobscott River. Renowned for great fishing, the woman working at the campground was asked “so how has the fishing been?” The response was “Fishing? What do you mean by fishing? …oh, actually trying to catch those things?”…… Needless to say this person did not offer any recommendations on what type of flies the landlocked salmon and brook trout were currently hitting!

One other lesson that can be learned from the Boy Scouts is the Outdoor Code. With this in mind you can always have a fun, enjoyable and responsible outdoor experience.

The Outdoor Code

—-I will do my best to—

Be clean in my outdoor manners

Be careful with fire

Be considerate in the outdoors,

and

Be conservation minded.

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Fly Fishing Tips

 Fly Fishing Tips

 Like many endeavors and sporting activities it can be said about fly fishing that it takes a day to learn and a lifetime to master. Here we are going over just a few simple tips to enhance your enjoyment of this great sport.  Of course you should focus on the type of fishing you plan on doing most such a trout fishing, saltwater fly fishing or salmon fishing. At some point you may want professional instruction so you may want to consider professional fishing guides, fly fishing courses or reading additional fly fishing resources. There is always a lot more to learn. Here are just a few tips for the freshwater fly fisherman.  

Casting – the art of casting a fly line can be a complex and detailed skill but it can also at times be simple and become second nature. One great idea is simply to practice. Many fly casters only cast when they are actually out fishing and this is definitely a mistake. You should consider it a ritual of spring to get your rods in working order. Check and replace lines if needed, check the cleanliness and mechanics of your reel and then go out on the lawn and simply practice fly casting. This will help get you ready for the fishing season, improve your technique and help develop that second nature aspect of casting. Practicing on flat ground is fine although casting onto water (such as a backyard swimming pool) is a bit better as the pick up of the line off the water is simulated. One of my favorite instructors is world renowned fisherman Lefty Kreh. He has some excellent information on the mechanics of casting. He is the author of many books and articles, internet videos and often conducts demonstrations at various fly fishing shows. I have been fornunate to attend his presentations at various fly fishing shows held in the winter. He certainly can prove to be very helpful in improving your casting.  

Using proper sunglasses can be another important fishing tip. Polarized sunglasses will prove to be extremely helpful when fly fishing to protect your eyes, reduce glare off the water, help you spot fish and increase safety while wading. If you don’t own a good pair of polarized fishing glasses then you won’t really see whats going on around you! So be sure you’ve got some cool looking and practical shades!   Make use of a wading staff for stream fishing. After many years of fishing without a wading staff I eventually picked one up. The very first day I wished I had done this years before. It makes virtually all wading easier and safer. It also helps as you work your way through thick brush on shore. The collapsible shock corded staffs are easy to carry and snap together almost instantly and are tethered to your belt so they don’t float away. Do yourself a favor and get one before your next trip to a stream.  

 Is your vest made of mesh? Virtually all top fly fishing manufacturers product a line of mesh vests. The number of pockets and carrying capacity is generally the same as with other vests. Since you virtually never would expect a fishing vest to keep you warm (you would wear regular warm clothing for that of course) why not where a mesh vest as it will be able to help you keep cool in hot weather. Yhis is just something to think about next time you are in the market for a vest.  

Wade minimally on the stream. When approaching a section of river you plan to fish, it is often best to approach with stealth, keep a low profile, move slowly and quietly so as not to spook the fish. Standing high on a rock overlooking a pool and casting your shadow onto the water is considered a good way to scare fish. It is a very common mistake that an excited fisherman will charge into the river, frightening the fish before the very first cast. I wish I had a new wooly bugger for every time I have seen a fisherman standing in the middle of a nice pool or run, standing in the exact spot where he should be casting to! Obviously those fish are long gone due to the fisherman’s over anxious actions. Read the water and position yourself appropriately. So remember to wade slowly, don’t scare the fish and make a good casting presentation!  

Have you ever had a problem while stringing your line through the rod? Say you just got out of the car and out on the stream you can already hear and see the hungry trout rising. You can’t wait to get fishing! You hurry to string your rod but as you pull on the end of the line or leader, it slips from your hand and every bit of that line retreats back through the eyelets. This can be very frustrating. The simple way to prevent this is to initially put off a length of line from the reel, make a single loop of several inches and than pull that through the eyelets. If it slips from your hand the loop opens up and catches before it goes back through all the eyelets. Get in the habit of doing this and it solves this annoying little problem.  

Check your rod ferrules before and during fishing.  When fishing with multi piece rods it is a good idea to periodically regularly check the ferrules. The more pieces you have, the more chances you have of one of the ferrules becoming loose. The last thing you want is to have a portion of your rod come loose in the middle of a cast or with a fish on the line. Also check that your reel is secure to your reel seat. Everything should be tight.  

Be observant while you are fishing. This will help immensely with your fly selection. If possible scout the river prior to going fishing. Look for the stretches that will hold fish and can be accessed for fishing. When you are on the river fishing you should observe the insect activity. Lifting up submerged rocks will provide insight into the aquatic insects of the stream. Some fisherman use seins or small nets to scoop insects from the water to see what is on the menu. Birds (such as swallows) will sometimes be feeding on the same bugs as the fish. Being aware of the environment and fish feeding activities will always steer you in the right direction for choosing the correct fly.  

 Multi- fly rigs – If one fly is good then more is better, right? Yes, this can be true sometimes. If you are fishing a nymph with a strike indicator, or using a dry fly and getting no action, then you may want to use a dry fly as the indicator and a nymph on a dropper leader. The dry fly then will act as the strike indicator plus it will increase your chances of hooking a fish.  An example of this would be to have a bushy dry fly, such as a size 14 Humpy as the dry. Tie a length of tippet material to the bend in the hook of the Humpy. For example we suggest about 20 inches on 5X tippet. To the end of that tippet you would add a small beadhead nymph. You are now ready to fish with both flies. Cast rather carefully to avoid tangling issues and use the dry fly to indicate hits on the nymph. You never know -you might just end up catching two fish at one!

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Fishing Destinations

 

Fishing Destinations!

 

The great thing about planning a fishing trip is there are so many great places to go to! The hard part is figuring out which place to visit! When it comes to fly fishing for trout, one of the priorities of the Nahanni Camping and Fishing Club, the challenge is to locate a great camping area that is also very close to a great fishing area.! Fly Fishing in New England is just about our favorite activity… or is it fishing in the Rocky Mountains? In our native New England, our “backyard” so to speak, there are many fine opportunities. Massachusettss offers the Derfield River in the Berkshires, the Swift River in central Mass, Cape Cod’s trout ponds and many other locations that can be reached easily. Vermont’s White River, New Hampshire’s Pemigewasset, Sugar and Androscoggin River, Maine’s Penobscott River, the Rapid River and Grand Lake Stream are just a few of the well known New England fishing targets. One of my favorite books, America’s 100 Best Trout Streams, published by the Trout Unlimited organization, is a great book that provides information about some of the very best streams throughout the US. The book Fifty Places to Fly Fish Before You Die gives similar worldwide information. Locally TU has put out An Anglers Guide to Trout Fishing in Massachusetts which is extremely useful. Your local book store is worth visiting and will provide lots of useful information. (www.tu.org)

Without question the great state of Colorado hold special appeal to the Nahanni Camping and Fishing Club. Many of the photos you will see on this site were taken in Colorado. Within a relatively short drive from the Denver airport are many of the best trout fishing areas in North America. The Rocky Mountain National, the Cache La Poudre River, the Gunnison River, The Frying Pan River, The South Platte River and the Yampa River, along with many others in the area offer spectacular fly fishing opportunities!

Another great region is around Missoula Montana. Many rivers in this area are truely legendary. The Blackfoot, the Flathead, the Bitterroot River, Henry’s Fork etc can all be reached in a easy drive from Missoula. Taking route 12 west from Missoula, known as the Lewis and Clark Highway, brings you to Idaho and some more wonderful fishing locations. It was along this route that the Lewis and Clark Corp of Discovery first collected specimens of the beautiful Cutthroat Trout, the scientific name of the species being clarki (Oncorhynchus clarki).

 

 

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The Wonderful World of Fly Fishing

 

    Fly Fishing is a very popular hobby and recreation. It involves the epic challenge of man against nature. It involves the serene beauty of a swiftly flowing river in the morning mist or the hungry rise of silvery trout. It involves the use of some precision made, detailed and sometimes delicate equipment. And it involves some good old fashioned fun! Fortunately it is not for everybody. If it was highly popular with everyone then our streams, lakes and ponds would be too overcrowded and the poor fish would hate that, as would fishermen looking for a littel solitude. For some it  already seems like too many people sometimes are out there fishing.

It has been said that there is much more to fly fishing then just catching fish. This is true. Fly fishing may be the only form of fishing that captures your soul and can provide you with a pastime and a passion for a lifetime.

The form of fishing known as fly fishing can take many forms: casting tiny dry flies to selective rising trout on a clear mountain stream, saltwater casting with large flies, casting bass bugs on your local pond, wading a large river in the Northwest in search of salmon, teaching a child to catch his first sunfish on a fly. Just as there are many forms of fly fishing there are also many reasons why it appeals to an angler. The fact that generally a fish can be caught and gently released applies to those who want to do as little harm as possible to their prey. The catch and release philosophy has gained huge acceptance in the fly fishing community and fishing in general. Hopefully it will continue to do so. While there is nothing that tastes better then a freshly caught trout being cooked over a stream side campfire, for the preservation of the fish population, this should be the exception rather then the norm. The fact that you are often “fooling” a fish into hitting an artificial fly that the fish apparently thinks is a natural insect has an interesting and perhaps primitive appeal, exhibiting man’s superiority over a wild creature. The need to execute a skillful cast to present your fly properly offers a challenge that can vary from moderate to extreme. A sudden rise by a fish from the depths can provide an immediate adrenaline rush accompanied by share joy. The rhythmic movement of fly casting can have an soothing and hypnotic effect on the fisherman.

The beauty of trout fishing is often very evident. These beautiful fish often reside in exceptional beautiful territory. The fact that your last 100 casts may have not yielded a single rise can be negated by the fact that you are surrounded by unique rock formations, a lush evergreen forest, a unique waterfall or picturesque mountains all under a crystal clear blue sky.

A with any sport or activity peoples attitude and approach can vary dramatically. Even within the realm of fly fishing for trout there are “purists” who will only fish with dry flies, or only with barb-less hooks, or only cast to fish they can see. Perhaps the ultimate fishing experience is to be catching a trout on a dry fly. Of course your average fisherman probably tries to be more varied in his techniques and open minded in his appreciation of the sport. The wonderful world of fly fishing offers so much that many tastes can be satisfied. Most freshwater flies are intended to represent aquatic insects, sometimes specific insects, other times just a general imitation of an insect. Others are designed to imitate terrestrial bugs such as ants, grasshoppers, beatles, crickets, etc. Other forms of aquatic life are also imitated by flies: bait fish, shrimp, crayfish, frogs, etc.

One of the unique things about fly fishing is the extensive literary aspect to it. From its very inception there has been a passion that has inspired authors to put words to paper. Of course there are the vast number of “How to” type books and magazines but I am primarily referring to many other writings (both fiction and non-fiction) that may entirely focus on fly fishing or simply include it has part of the setting of a story. A visit to your local bookstore will show you this. This would also be very evident if you saw the bookcase in my living room! This extension of fly fishing has also carried over into movies and music.  The Nahanni Camping and Fishing Club website has some great suggestions for you to enjoy when you are not able to spend time out on the stream.

Weather your fishing journeys take you to Alaska, Argentine or simply your local pond, the exciting and exacting world of fly fishing has much to offer. Enjoy!

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A Few Camping Tips!

 

Camping Tips

 

It is not our intention to teach you everything about camping but merely to offer a few camping tips that you may find helpful. Our focus here will be on “car camping” where you have the ability to bring lots of gear and drive to (or very close to) your campsite.

 

Pre trip preparation and camping box care – It is always a good idea to spend time before your camping trip to check and make sure that all of your camping gear is in working order and all the necessary supplies are available. Take a note pad and make a list. Set up categorizes (shelter, cooking, clothing, etc). This planning will help the trip go smoothly. The last thing you want is to be miles from no where and to realize you forgot something vital. So be sure you plan what you need!

 

The Art of Tarpology or How to Stay Dry even if you are in a Hurricane! – When setting up camp the use of a tarp can be extremely useful. One great set up is to have a large area covered by a tarp. Tent can be set up under this tart so that even if it rains very harp the tents won’t be touched by a drop of water. Two trees, one on each side of the site can be used for this. Run a long, strong rope across the area about 8 feet off the ground. Secure your tarp over this. Using the outside grommets and smaller guide ropes (clothesline rope works well) then stake out the corners in the position you desire. Be sure you are not to close to your campfire area. This worked very well several years ago while camping in New England during Hurricane Floyd. Despite the driving wind and pelting rain we stayed dry. At one point we were contemplate aborting the trip but we ending up with some spectacular trout fishing in the upper Connecticut River!

Tents of course should be pitch on a smooth, flat area. Remember drainage is important because rain water will form puddles and small flowing streams so study the layout of the ground to determine what will happen if it does rain.

 Campfire Camping Tips

Airflow is Key! Or how to build a great campfire! – This is one of the most important camping tips we can offer. Both the teepee style and log cabin style of fire building will work well. Using dry split fire wood will work best. Down wood that you may find near your site may work well but watch for damp and rotten wood as this will not burn well. The KEY point to keep in mind is that oxygen is part of the burning process . This means that AIRFLOW IS KEY to a good campfire. Wood should be placed on the fire is such a way that it nominally touch other logs and it allows for as much space (airflow) between burning logs as possible. Wood should be haphazardly thrown on a fire. Strategic placement will yield much better results. The video below is both fun and informative.

 

Ice in your cooler, this is a really cool thing!

 

Proper care of your sleeping bag! When not in use your sleeping bag should not be rolled tightly or compressed in its stuff sack. This will keep the insulation (down, thinsulate, etc) compress and decrease the effective warmth and the life of the sleeping bag. Keep it stored in a loose, fluffed up condition. When you are packing most bags should be “stuffed” into the sack. Hence the name stuff sack! Some type of bags do need to be rolled however. When setting up camp it is always a good idea to set up you tent and sleeping quarters early when it is still light out. Later when it is dark and you are tired you may not be as enthusiastic to do this task. When the bag is in place. Preferably with a comfortable sleeping pad, it should be fluffed to obtain maximum loft but if it is not being used for any length of time you should double it over itself so the open end is not exposed to open air. Even in good weather moisture from the air can get into the bag and you won’t be as happy come bed time. One last tip is to store a pair of clean wool socks in the bottom of the bag. After a long day of fishing or hiking your feet will be very glad you did this and you will get a good nights sleep!

 

Knife and Ax sharpening – Be sure and all knifes and axes are sharp and clean. You can do this prior to the trip and make it one of your campsite activities. Either well your tools will work better is they are sharp.

 

Lighting, just in case it gets dark at night! – Whatever type of lighting you plan to use make sure it is ready before dark. Propane and fuel lanterns often require mantels that need to be put in place and burned before they can be used. Take care of this and make sure your camping box has extra mantels. If you do not own a camping headlamp do yourself a huge favor and get one before your next trip. Headlamps keep both hands free and this of course is a super convenience.

 

Propane versus fuel – any easy choice! Small propane canister can be used for lanterns, stoves and grills. They are readily available and you can not spill them. They are definitely the way to go! If you are still using the old fashioned fuel you will be much happier when you upgrade to propane. The only acceptable fuel stoves are some of the lightweight one used in backpacking.

First Aid – Accidents do happen and you should be prepared for minor meical emergencies. Always have a first aid kit on your camping trip. Band aids, disinfectant, pain killer (apirin or ibuprophin). It is better to bring items that you don’t need then to need something that you did not bring. You can simply use the “raid the medicine cabinet” method.

Hiking boots – If your feet aren’t happy you won’t be happy either! Proper foot care is essential. After a long day of fishing or hiking your feet have probably taken a beating and could go for some TLC. Keeping them clean and dry will help. Foot powder may become a regular part of your first aid kit. Preventing blisters is important and this starts by making sure your footwear fits properly and is broken in. Never go for a long hike with new hiking boots. I once watched a documentary about Appalachian Trail thru hikers. It showed a hiker starting out in Georgia with new gear, including new hiking boots. Despite having lots of ambition he never reached the Georgia border, much less the state of Maine. His feet were not happy!

 

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Ice Safety

Safety First

This ice strength and safety information is presented for the benefit of ice anglers and other winter sports people recreating on iced-over bodies of water.

Being certain that the ice you are ice fishing on is thick, strong and safe should always be your first and foremost concern. The information below should help. Another concern is foot traction. A bad slip and fall on slippery ice is dangerous. There are many types of traction cleats that are inexpensive and can easily be slipped onto your boots. These are available from most good sporting goods outlets.

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The figures in the table below are for clear, blue ice on lakes and ponds. Reduce strength values 15% for clear blue, river ice. Slush or snow (white) ice is only one-half the strength of blue ice and can be very treacherous. “Honeycombed” ice, which occurs in the spring or during major winter thaws as the ice is melting, is the most dangerous ice, and best avoided unless the angler is certain there is a safe layer of solid ice beneath the honeycombed surface.

Anglers should also be aware that many lakes and ponds contain spring holes and other areas of current that may create deceptively dangerous thin spots in areas that are otherwise safe. Always use caution, and don’t venture out onto unfamiliar waters without checking ice thickness frequently.

There are no guarantees — always consider ice potentially dangerous. Assess ice safety by using an ice chisel to chop a hole in the ice to determine its thickness and condition. Make sure you continue to do this as you go further out on to the ice, because the thickness of the ice will not be uniform all over the pond or lake. Be aware that ice tends to be thinner on lakes and ponds where there are spring holes, inlets or outlets. Don’t venture on to ice bound rivers or streams as the currents make ice thickness unpredictable

As with any emergency, don’t panic! If you fall through the ice,briefly call for help. It doesn’t take long for the cold water to start slowing your physical and mental functions, so you must act quickly. Air will remain trapped in your clothes for a short time aiding your buoyancy. Kick your legs while grasping for firm ice. Try to pull your body up using “ice pins” that should be hanging around your neck. Once your torso is on firm ice, roll towards thicker ice. This will better distribute your weight. Remember that ice you have previously walked on should be the safest. After you reach safe ice, don’t waste precious time because you need to warm up quickly to prevent hypothermia. Go to the nearest fishing shanty, warm car, or home.

If a companion falls through the ice remember the phrase “Reach-Throw-Go” If you are unable to reach your friend from shore, throw him or her a rope, jumper cables, tree branch, or other object. If this does not work, go for help before you also become a victim. Get medical assistance for the victim immediately.

When walking on or near ice, keep your pets on a leash. If a pet falls through the ice do not attempt to rescue the pet, go for help. Well meaning pet owners can too easily become rescue victims when trying to assist their pets.

Outdoor recreation activities on the ice is a safe pursuit. By using a little common sense, these activities will stay that way.

 

Ice Thickness and Strength (clear, blue lake ice)

 

Thickness  and Permissible load

2 inches or less = Stay off!

4 inches = Ice fishing and other activities on foot

5 inches = Snowmobile or ATV

8 to 12 inches  =Medium truck

 

Ice safety information courtesy of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife

 

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